Sunday, May 11, 2014

Genevieve Kristine B. Mañalac

A Reaction Paper on The Social Climbers and Food for Thought

          I thought what I knew about them were enough. I thought they were just ordinary animals that I would not care to know more about. I thought seeing a couple of their species would suffice in giving me an idea of the entirety of their group. But what I never thought was that I would see an incredible sense of familiarity that would make me think otherwise.
          Furry animals hanging in trees and eating bananas, what else do we need to know about these social climbers? Upon watching the documentary about the life of mammals, we apparently need to know more than that grade school definition. I have learned about the varying species of monkeys and how each are adapted to their natural habitats. Each type of monkey has its own choice of food and technique in providing for its needs. They have different features and characteristics that would explain the numerous types of monkeys having Capuchins, Pygmy Marmosets, Howler monkeys, Toque Macaques, Baboons, to name some. But apart from the basics, what got most of my interest was how monkeys and apes, for that matter, resemble humans in a number of ways. As shown in the documentary entitled The Social Climbers, monkeys are very sociable animals. They work together and even form alliances just to uphold a common interest of, let us say for instance, escaping from predators. This is very much like us who collaborate with others for our mutual benefit. They also have class systems where outsiders are treated as outcasts until they prove worthy of belonging to the group thus, showing a hint of being political creatures as well. Different classes and divisions are also evident in humans as we continue to have social classes to which each person belongs to. They also give much importance for their young like how we give special attention to babies. Surprisingly, they also form their own Ape culture as they copy and mimic the things they see in their surroundings. This is highlighted on the second part of the documentary, entitled as Food for Thought, where the monkeys immersed in our environment copied our ways of washing socks, using a nail and hammer and others. This shows great potential in the way their thinking develops, which now makes me think of how far their capacities could reach. These are just few of the resemblances you could see between them and us and there is just a fine line that divides the two. There is indeed so much to learn about these interesting creatures.
          This documentary makes us want to second guess ourselves and think of how much potential these mammals have that we should be aware of. I realized how valid the theory of evolution could actually be and how convincing it would turn out after knowing how monkeys and apes live their lives. It also depicted how much potential we, as humans, have as well since it showed our own advancements with how we used to hunt for food and how we have the sciences and mathematics now. In the end, I think the documentary makes us see how far we have become but does not make us forget that we are not the only ones improving. Everything changes through time and everyone must adapt even humans and monkeys alike.

A Reaction Paper on A Beautiful Mind

          Have you ever wondered what life could be like if you were given the chance to be someone else? Someone who almost always has the right answers to a problem; someone who gets accepted into the top notch universities; someone who spends afternoon tea with other geniuses; someone who makes a discovery that would change the world or even someone who gets awarded a Nobel Prize? If you could be that someone, wouldn’t life be so great?
          A Beautiful Mind tells you a story of a man named John Nash who had the opportunity to be that certain someone, but that privilege came with a price. Great things started to happen to him the moment he got accepted into Princeton University but it was also during this time that something unfortunate was beginning to stir in his life. Throughout the movie, you will come to realize that he is a mathematician and that he was able to publish an original study that made him known. But during the course of his life, he started hallucinating and imagining people around him including his roommate named Charles Herman, William Parcher of the United States Department of Defense and Herman’s niece, Marcee. He started to think of events that were not real just to satisfy his needs at the time like his longing for a friend, a deeper purpose in his job and a family. He was schizophrenic. Despite that, he was still able to find love through his student, Alicia Larde, who later on became his wife and bore his child. His highest point was when he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics due to his work on game theory.
          What I thought would be a boring movie filled with intellectual discussions and hard to grasp dialogues turned out to be an interesting and inspirational one. The story of John Nash proved that you really cannot have everything but that does not mean that you would never reach satisfaction. He used to think that he had all the answers inside his mind until his illness proved otherwise. I think what made him great was how he was able to accept his reality and move forward. That although he was not able to be everything he could be at least he was able to be someone better. When the movie ended, I was left wanting and waiting for more. It taught me the significance of having people to support you; how nothing comes easy even for geniuses; how an illness could destroy you or recreate you; and how love could be the best antidote for it all. The movie showed that perseverance and determination is the key to fight the battle of schizophrenia. I admired his wife who played a big role in this battle but nothing beats my awe on Nash’s will to fight, where he was humble enough to accept his imperfection and how he worked his way through it. It makes its viewers strong at heart as it makes us realize that the opportunity to continue on with life while still having much greater things in store for you would not falter even if you are faced with a heavy burden. It pushes us to strive harder while keeping a positive outlook in life. All in all, A Beautiful Mind did not fall short of its title as it was able to prove that beyond all that has happened, John Nash was one who had a beautiful mind as he made things possible. Indeed, even with schizophrenia, no one could deny that he was a genius nonetheless.

A Reaction Paper on Birds

          There is something about these winged animals that I have always been fascinated about. At first, I was not sure if it was the color of their feathers, their humming of tunes or their way of gliding through the air. But at this moment, I know that what made me love them is their capacity to fly high up and be free. Having the trees and sky as their home, they are able to see the wonders and beauty of the earth as they look down, something we would not notice even if we are standing on it. Through our activity under Prof. Benjamin Vallejo, we were given the chance to sneak a peek into the world of birds and had the opportunity to finally look up and see what is in store for us in that seemingly limitless sanctuary.
          Last May 6, 2014, Prof. Vallejo discussed in our class the basics about birds. He mentioned that birds measure the diversity of the community and how different species are present in our very own campus. He said that there was a noticeable decrease with the number of birds especially when more buildings and structures were built inside the campus. But despite that, species like the Oriole, Maya, Blue Rock Thrush, King Fisher, Sunbirds, Flower pecker, Shrike, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Bee-eater and others still remain within the university. This is why a number of bird enthusiasts make it a point to go to UP Diliman just to see and take pictures of this wonderful species of birds. With this in mind, we were given 30 minutes to go out of the auditorium and see these winged creatures ourselves. Initially, I thought it would be an easy activity wherein we only need to walk around and list all the birds that we would see. But it was more than an easy task provided that it was as if they all seemed to go hiding the moment we wanted to see them up close. It was a really fun and educational experience for our group. The first thing we did was to distance ourselves from the other groups so as to lessen the noise in the surroundings and before we knew it, we were a group of students near the Marine Science Institute, who were all looking up into the trees and carefully taking each step we took. I know, we might have looked weird but we really wanted to see the birds we usually brush off every morning we go to class. With that look we had, we were approached by someone who thought we were looking and studying the trees. He named the different trees and said that he planted most of it as he gave a little background on each. Upon realizing that we were looking for birds, he eventually allowed us to continue our walk. It was not until he introduced himself that we realized that we met Prof. Emeritus Edgardo Gomez, founder of the Marine Science Institute.  It was a little late which is why only a few birds were actively flying from tree to tree but at least we were able to spot some. We were able to see the Yellow-vented Bulbul, Maya, Oriole, Fantail and others that we could not name.
          Knowing about the number of birds our university has, one could not help but seek to preserve this rich biodiversity we have. If the advancements continue and as new buildings are to be built in the near future, it is inevitable that the habitat of these birds would be less, thus forcing them out. Though this is a possible scenario since developments cannot be helped, what we can only do is to appreciate what we have now and care for the nature we keep inside school grounds. Along the buildings that will rise up should be plants and trees to add on to what we presently have. We could keep the campus clean so as to keep them here and just share to others the satisfaction and wonder of seeing them free as they should always be. This activity was an eye opener that makes us see our privilege to have these creatures occupy our skies. It makes us aware of our responsibility in keeping their home abundant. This bird watching activity makes me want to see these birds still thriving and free roaming around campus even through the years and that is something we should all work for to see.

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